Nate Allen, Bob Holt and I go back decades as Razorback beat reporters. Nate came first in ’73. He well remembers the hiring of Eddie Sutton and the almost immediate impact Sutton had on Razorback basketball which had just one winning season in the eight years before that. Once at Arkansas Sutton never had a losing season on the Hill. Not even close.
I came in ’75, the last year Arkansas played in old Barnhill Fieldhouse with its dirt floor and temporary bleachers on the south side of a removable basketball court. Once Barnhill Fieldhouse became Barnhill Arena Arkansas went to nine straight NCAA tournaments with five SWC championships and three SWC tournament titles under Sutton. The Hogs won 94% of their home games in those years.
Bob arrived in the early 80’s. It was his first job out of college. He remembers how Sutton went out of his way to help a young reporter cover Arkansas basketball in a state that was hog wild over Sutton.
Each of us had complete access to Sutton’s practices. Each of us enjoyed the open door policy he had toward the media and we all appreciated the sense of humor he brought to his press conferences and in one on one conversations he had with us.
Sutton was not without his issues but when we had to do some tough reporting on him he never took it personally.
The attached videos reveal what it was like for each of us to be around the man who went to become a hall of fame coach.